Skip to main content

English Children: Life in the City

Movies Preview

English Children: Life in the City

Published 1949

Typical events in the daily life of an English urban family just after World War II.

Run time 10:30
Producer Encyclopaedia Britannica Films
Sponsor N/A
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W


Presents typical events in the daily life of an English urban family. Children are shown at school, at play, at home and on a holiday at a seaside town.



Reviewer: buttonman - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 17, 2008
Subject: "white smoking thing"
In reply to uniQ, the "white smoking thing" looks like the cooling tower at a power station, ie the tower where the steam from the turbines rises and mostly condenses and falls back down inside as water.
Reviewer: woofer3 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 27, 2008
Subject: Delightful
Can't really add much to what's already been said. A delightful and refreshing document of a world never to return.
Reviewer: uniQ - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 29, 2006
Subject: Encyclopedea Britannica finally on home territory!
Nice music I have to say.

Excellent narrator! He seems to perfectly fit the scene.

The buildings facade isn't great, but it's a minor point.

Tommy is a darn good artist.

Kindof wish they had grocers like that here

The grocer looks like a chemist (IE. someone who works in a chemistry lab, NOT a pharmacist)!

Ahh, classic old currency. I love the disparate sizes of the coins!

WoW, the old city walls are short! Behind "the rooftops of our city", what is that white smoking thing in the distance?

Mr. Watkins is an engine driver. I'll bet that made a certain number of schoolchildren watching this jealous.

Joans picking and arrainging flowers faintly echoes "Daughter" in "A Date with your Family".

That is an OLD stove!

The only thing about this that may irk some people is the way he pronounces "Tomatoes"

"This is the BBC Light programme". Classic words despite the fact I have no idea what that is/was. The pattern on the front of the "wireless" is a little unusual.

Tommy's lips don't agree with the narrators description.

Father evidently likes to work in the garden wearing a necktie

When they're headed to holiday, look @ the clock on the building! Speaking of which, they have almost NO luggage. Hmm, the announcer decides to fess up to the weather.

Notice the abandoned suitcase they walk past!

They don't seem to have to show their ticket to the collector...

The narrator might to well to explain more about the "compartment" system of the train, since I don't think that was ever done in the US. Speaking of which, it has an amazing about of furnishings, even a mirror!

Nice shots of railroad signals are interspersed throughout

I'd pay to listen to their "exciting stories"

You'd have to be in a Triumph to be able to drive on those streets...

About 9:40, what's that obelisk to the right?

All in all, a very nice EncyB film. However be careful, the MPEG4 seems to be missing about some soundtrack!

It has the sort of feel of a well done propiganda film, however I'm not too sure why they'd make one about England. Anyrate, if that's what it is, it's done it's job; if not, then it's a darn good film.


Revision 6
Reviewer: Thirsk_Projectionist - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 14, 2006
Subject: Tea
What an excellent short, watching it I thought it was down south, the school seemed to say that, mine was old, very old, the accent NOT ...but then the walls .... **IT'S YORK** what a suprise, and the Steam Trains... Bliss!
But... that tea coming out of the pot .. weak or what .. I've seen stronger water!!!!
Then arriving at Whitby, excellent, two towns whose rooftop view has hardly changed. Wonder if there are any more like it?
Reviewer: Christine Hennig - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 11, 2006
Subject: It's All Part of Growing Up and Being British
This charming Encyclopedia Britannica film from the 50s shows us the quiet life of an English family from the city of York. Everything is properly British: teenaged Frank plays cricket and listens to sports broadcasts on the wireless, mother and sister Joan get groceries at the shops and then make tea, Father comes home from his job as an engine driver, and Tommy looks forward to the familyÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs coming holiday at the seaside and their visit to GrandmaÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs cottage. This has that comfortable, coddling feel of classic English childrenÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs books. ItÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs also a bit livelier than the typical EB film, with soundtrack music even appearing near the end. Jolly good!
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
Reviewer: ERD - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 18, 2005
Subject: Charming!
Very well done film. It gives you the feel of that time in the late 1940's in England. The family seems to be so friendly. I almost wish I could have known them.
Reviewer: PRG - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 20, 2005
Subject: Post war life in England
During the Second World War, Americans would have been given the impression of a bombed out, food rationed and apprehensive Britain. This 1949 film updates them by showing a comfortable post-war life in the northern city of York. The narrator - with a Yorkshire accent - introduces us to an English family and by following them around acquaints the American classroom with such mysteries as shillings and pence, English tea and even tries to explain the rules of cricket! We follow the family on their holiday to the seaside Although not mentioned, this is located at Whitby. The family climb the famous 199 steps up the cliff to grandma's house. In 1949 annual holidays to the seaside were still expensive for the average British family. However as a railway worker the father would have had access to free tickets, and once on holiday they stayed at Grandma and GrandpaÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs house. Much of the old part of York and Whitby still exists much as it was in 1949, but the life of sit-down teas, steam trains, wireless, and fishing fleets have long gone. That alone makes this an invaluable snapshot of mid 20th century Britain.

The 'BBC Light Programme' was the radio station which broadcast items of a non-serious nature, like popular music and sport. Since 1967 it has been called 'Radio 2'.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavorite - April 30, 2003
Subject: I hate to say this, but Jolly Good!
This is a rather cute film detailing the life of a typical English family. The kids are in school, the older kid plays cricket, the mom makes tea etc etc. So all of the comfortable stereotypes are herw. The family all plan a trip to the seaside to visit granny. And they do. That's about all, but still cute nevertheless. I could do without the somewhat snooty narration though.
SIMILAR ITEMS (based on metadata)
Prelinger Archives
by Encyclopaedia Britannica Films
eye 496
favorite 3
comment 1
favoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Prelinger Archives
by Encyclopaedia Britannica Films
eye 10,710
favorite 17
comment 9
favoritefavoritefavorite ( 9 reviews )
Prelinger Archives
by Encyclopaedia Britannica Films
eye 729
favorite 1
comment 1
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Prelinger Archives
by Encyclopaedia Britannica Films
eye 1,604
favorite 7
comment 1
favoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Prelinger Archives
by Encyclopaedia Britannica Films
eye 808
favorite 2
comment 0
eye 139
favorite 2
comment 0
Prelinger Archives
by Encyclopaedia Britannica Films
eye 931
favorite 5
comment 0
Prelinger Archives
by Encyclopaedia Britannica Films
eye 14,264
favorite 18
comment 5
favoritefavoritefavorite ( 5 reviews )
Prelinger Archives
by Encyclopaedia Britannica Films
eye 27,334
favorite 44
comment 10
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 10 reviews )